It's not just you. Teens really are in worse shape than previous generations. Scientists claim there are two linked reasons for that: Kids and teenagers weigh more and get less exercise, with only a third of U.S. kids getting the recommended hour of activity a day. Perhaps those issues are linked to the approximate seven hours per day the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says children of all ages are spending in front of screens.
If you want your teenagers to get back outside and learn the value of spending time in nature, here are some tips to make it happen, courtesy of Hawley Farm Glamping.
Lead by Example
If you want your teens outside, you need to lead by example. Plan a family camping trip where you can show them the fun of the great outdoors. Teach skills like how to hike that they can use even when you aren't camping; that way, when they transition from teens to adults, they’ll have the skills to enjoy the outdoors on their own.
Set up camp and cook together, or build a fire and play a card game. Everyone experiences the benefits of family camping, such as time to bond, physical activity, and lowered stress levels.
Camping might be new to you, too, so here are a couple of safety tips for getting started:
Stay connected with a fully charged phone and wireless charger. Online reviews can let you know what to expect for cell service.
Learn about fire safety, including how to build and put out your fire completely. Follow rules for picking up firewood and where fires are allowed at your campground.
Pack a first aid kit including sunscreen and bug spray.
Don’t forget to bring a durable camping blanket!
If you’ve formed the habit of being accessible at all times for work, spend your time outdoors without checking your devices so you can truly enjoy your time with your family.
Start When They’re Younger
If you want to get your teens to truly appreciate nature, it’s helpful to begin when they’re still kids. Start small when your teenagers are younger by utilizing your backyard for outdoor play in a safe environment. Make sure your backyard is ready for play.
Remember to leave space for them to run that's clear of weeds and rocks. If you don't have a fence, check with fencing contractors for an affordable option; you may find online deals. Remember to search review websites and ask your neighbors for recommendations to find a contractor you trust.
Other steps to make your backyard safe include:
Removing plants that pose a risk, like oleanders or foxglove
Installing a safety fence around the pool
Filling in holes
One of the top reasons that parents don't allow younger children to play outside is concerns about safety. Watching your kids and creating a safe space help to overcome these obstacles.
Use Technology to Allay Your Fears
When your kids become teenagers and are ready to move beyond the backyard, use technology to lessen your concerns. Today there's a burgeoning market in GPS trackers. With a tracker, you always know where they are when they are out later with friends. If your teenager has a smartphone, you can use the GPS function in these devices to help you keep track of where they are. Set expectations with your kids and teenagers about keeping the tracker with them at all times and explain that it isn't a golden ticket to do whatever they want.
Being outside on their own has benefits that can't be easily duplicated elsewhere. Your teens can learn more about nature and how to handle risk, think creatively and socialize with their friends without adult guidance. Give your kids, regardless of their age, this gift. Now, get outside!
Hawley Farm Glamping is a secluded, luxury, boutique glamping resort located near Kansas City, Missouri, in the heart of Midwest farm country in Hampton, Missouri. Call 816-589-9448.